Anna Chose Life
by Sharon Betters
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ESV
After our son Mark’s death, I struggled to find joy and purpose in living. I wasn’t finished mothering Mark. I never wanted an empty nest. Mark had two more years of high school and we looked forward to pouring our lives into him as our last dependent child. Darkness covered my heart and I could not see how I would ever laugh again. I wonder if Anna felt this kind of grief? Was she fearful, wondering how she would survive? Did she wrestle with trusting God’s love or provision when He promised to be a husband to the widow? We don’t know if Anna was poor or wealthy, childless or a mother. What we do know is that when death moved in to her home, Anna chose life over the darkness. I wonder if Today’s Treasure challenged her to remember God’s promises and that she had a choice over the quality of her remaining days.
Just as this Scripture directs, Anna chose life. In this passage God tells us to choose life so that we, along with our offspring, will live. When I was deep in grief, this exhortation challenged me to consider the impact of my responses to hard places not only on my life but also on the lives of our children. Though I doubted God’s blessings could move me out of the abyss of grief, I wanted our children to trust Him when they experienced darkness. God made me very aware that our children were watching and taking cues from us. Some days that was the only incentive I had for choosing life. Choosing life for Anna actually meant giving up her life. When we say yes to one thing we say no to another. Anna said yes to living in the Temple, worshiping, praying and fasting 24/7. What life did Anna reject in order to say yes to this lifestyle?
In Today’s Treasure, God speaks to people on pilgrimage. He encourages them to “keep on keeping on” by choosing life. He describes what choosing life looks like:
"Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Deuteronomy 30:19-20 ESV
This passage offers hope to despairing, discouraged pilgrims. Choosing life means pursuing an intimacy with our God, loving Him, obeying His voice, holding tightly to Him and recognizing that without Jesus we have no hope. Such a choice generates hope and fuels our pilgrimage Home.
Oh Lord, may we choose life in all of our transactions. May we choose to be life-givers rather than life-takers. Fill us with Your life, stir up our love for You, direct our steps, and may we choose obedience that leads to deeper life in You.